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"Even a small incident will reflect badly on our app." Developers said they were being particularly cautious after another app-based company, taxi service Uber, became embroiled in controversy in December and lost its license to operate in the Indian capital after one of its Delhi drivers was accused of raping a 26-year-old passenger.Marketing to women means not just giving them more control over whom they connect with, but also carefully controlling which men are being featured and offering reassurance that the men are legitimate.The success of social dating apps may be somewhat surprising in India, a deeply conservative country where arranged marriage is still the norm and marrying outside of one's religious or ethnic community is often frowned upon.But youths raised during an era of economic growth and modernization are eagerly embracing Western ideas, and increasingly willing to risk scandal to do so.The dating app market has exploded in recent years, with more than a dozen companies operating in the country and more than a million smartphone users who have downloaded at least one of them.
They even have the quirky names down: Woo, Thrill, Truly Madly, Hitch Up and Desi Crush, to name a few.
"In the current landscape, women want to make the first move" but don't because they're afraid of what society will think, she said, explaining why Bumble allows only women to send a first message.
The formula, she said, reduces the fear of rejection for men and removes the idea of a woman being "desperate." Some young Indian women say they've been thrilled by the chance to chat with men they might not meet through family functions or in the office. In this July 5, 2015 photo, an Indian man uses Los Angeles-based dating application Tinder in New Delhi, India.
But because dating is still widely seen as a social taboo in India, "it is very difficult to get girls in India to start using a dating app," said Sachin Bhatia, co-founder of India's Truly Madly.
Success also requires navigating extra security concerns, developers said.